John Shorthouse is the eldest of three son of John Stephen Shorthouse and Marguerite Shorthouse (nee Gargrave) both of whom were born in England. His father served in the Royal Navy in World War 1 and after the war joined the newly formed Royal New Zealand Navy. He served briefly with the RNZN in World War 2 as Chief Petty Officer Mechanician.
All three sons served in the Royal New Zealand Air Force during World War 2. Eric Peter Shorthouse (187371), DFC, m.i.d., (born 1921) served in the Pacific and was killed in action. Robert Clive (born 1922) served in the Middle East.
John Shorthouse married Beatrice Mary Stroud at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada on 3 June 1942. They had two sons, John Blake, born in Lincoln, England 12 April 1944 and Eric Brett, born in Auckland on 4 October 1948. Both sons now live in Australia (John in Melbourne and Eric in Townsville).
Wing Commander John Shorthouse's military service began in April 1939 when he trained in New Zealand for entry on short-service commission to the Royal Air Force. His initial training was at Wanganui Aero Club and at Wigram No. 1 SFTS for Service Flying Training School. On arrival in England he joined the Royal Air Force for 5-year Commission and in April 1940 following training with 207 Squadron was posted to 12 Squadron in France with the Advanced Air Striking Force.
On 13 June 1940 he was shot down in flames and badly burnt. He baled out and after two days was picked up by a Belgian ambulance driver, taken to St Nazaire and repatriated to England. After recuperation he was posted to the Photographic Reconnaissance Unit at Heston. In this capacity he flew Spitfires for high-level photography during the Battle of Britain.
Posted to 10 SFTS Ternhill on 14 October 1940 and then to Moose Jaw, Canada 32 SFTS where he spent a year instructing on Harvards. This was followed by a posting in January 1942 to 32 OTU at Patricia Bay on Vancouver Island instructing on Torpedo Bombers, Beauforts and Hampdens.
John Shorthouse and Mary Stroud were married on 3 June 1942 at Moose Jaw, Canada. In October he was recalled to England to join Bomber Command and on 1 December posted to 14 Operational Training Unit, Royal Air Force Cottesmore (Wellingtons).
In October 1943 John Shorthouse was awarded the DFC and promoted to Squadron Leader and Flight Commander.
Postings which followed were
1943, 4 April - 1660 Heavy Conversion Unit, Royal Air Force, Swinderby (Manchesters and Lancasters).
1943, 7 May - 44 (Rhodesia) Squadron at Waddington and Dunholme Lodge (Lancasters)
1944, 28 January - No. 5 Lancaster Flying School, Syerston where he was Chief Flying Instructor.
1944, 19 August - 1668 Conversion Unit, Bottesford as Chief Flying Instructor to form a new unit.
1944,15 October - Promoted to Wing Commander and posted to Bardney to form and command 189 Squadron (Lancasters).
1945, 24 June - Air Crew re-categorisation Unit, Bruntingthorpe
1945, 26 September - Transport Command for training on Liberators. Then to 53 Squadron for Transport Command duties.
1945, 1 July - Transferred to Royal New Zealand Air Force
1946, September - Repatriated to New Zealand
In October 1943 he was awarded the DFC and promoted to Squadron Leader and Flight Commander and in December 1944 Mentioned-in-Despatches. Details of the citation for his DFC above.
Husband of Mary; father of Blake, Brett
Served firstly with the RNZAF from 1930- 1940; then the RAF until 1945 and again with the RNZAF until 1947
Was with TEAL and Air New Zealand and a pilot 1947-1975 and hereafter as an instructor AWMM